56-year-old man found dead as crews worked to extinguish Valparaiso house fire

According to fire officials, this home in the 200 block of Elmhurst Street in Valparaiso had no working smoke detectors in it. The home's owner, a 56-year-old man, was found dead inside the home as crews worked early Saturday morning to extinguish the blaze. 

Officials said there were no working smoke detectors in a Valparaiso home where the 56-year-old homeowner was found dead after a fire Saturday morning. 

The Valparaiso Fire Department was dispatched for the report of smoke in the area of Chestnut and Center streets early in the morning.

Upon investigation, units discovered an active structure fire in the 200 block of Elmhurst Street.

Crews found smoke coming from the eves of the single-family bungalow-style home. The homeowner, 56-year-old Scott Cusick, was found dead in the residence upon a primary search, according to fire officials.

Robert Schulte, public information officer for the Valparaiso Fire Department, said a preliminary investigation indicates the fire started in the ceiling of the basement and that the homeowner attempted to exit the home before being overcome by the smoke and fire. 

The cause and manner of death are being investigated by the Porter County Coroner’s Office and Valparaiso Police Department. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday and toxicology reports are pending.

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The fire extended to the attic and roof of the home before being extinguished. It is being investigated by Valparaiso Fire Department and State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The Valparaiso Fire Department was assisted by Washington Township Volunteer Fire Department and Porter EMS.

The Valparaiso Fire Department stresses the importance of having working smoke detectors in homes. Schulte stated that there should be a fire detector on each level of a home and ideally outside every bedroom and common area. 

He said people should also sleep with their bedroom door closed. 

The Valparaiso Fire Department has an outreach program with Martin Security to provide smoke detectors to homes in Valparaiso and Center Township without one. 

For more information on the program, call the fire department at 219-462-4772. 

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